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Workbench used to conceal the hiding place of a Jewish family

Object | Accession Number: 1992.240.1

Large wooden workbench that concealed the moveable floorboards concealing the entrance to a hiding place built by Stefan Petri in his home for Dr. Kaufman Szapiro, wife Ela, and adult sons Jerzy and Marek, whom he hid from fall 1942-September 1944. Stefan, wife Janina, and teenage son Marian were Polish Catholics who lived in Wawer, near Warsaw. On September 1, Nazi Germany invaded Poland. The German occupation regime brutally subjugated the Polish people and persecuted Jews. During the invasion, Stefan built a hiding place in his basement laundry room concealed by a cabinet. In summer-fall 1942, the Germans deported nearly 300,000 Jews from Warsaw Ghetto to Treblinka killing center. Stefan learned of the Szapiro's escape. He knew them before the war and felt obligated to save them. He hid them in his home. Neighbors reported him to the Gestapo. He was beaten and the home searched twice with dogs. The hidden space was not discovered, but in 1943, Stefan dug out a second space below it. The dugout was accessed through a trap door under the workbench which was piled with machine and tools to cover make it unnoticeable. Jadwiga, a local shopkeeper, helped supply food for the hidden family. The Szapiro's lived hidden for two years inside Stefan's home, until liberation by the Soviet Army on September 11, 1944. This item is on display in the Museum's Permanent Exhibition, A Place to Hide - segment: 3.22.

1943-1944 September 11  (use)
1939-1940  (creation)
use : hiding place; Wawer (Poland)
Furnishings and Furniture
Object Type
Workbenches (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Jadwiga Petri
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Record last modified: 2018-06-01 13:29:26
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